Raga Megh Malhar
Tansen, one of the Nine Jewels of Akbar’s court,
has a legend about him.
As spring approached,
and the monsoon prickled in the sky,
waiting to be set forth from its cloudy shell,
he would sing the melodious pakad of Megh Malhar,
and demand the presence of those heavenly waters,
And the monsoon would have no choice but to oblige.
In those days, the mystical Megh Malhar was a dream,
Beautiful, fantastical, awe-inspiring.
But if you think about it,
that ability of man to manipulate the skies,
is nothing special today.
We all do it, every moment of every day.
Every car ride.
Man wrangling Mother Nature to do his will.
So when you hear re ma pa,
and call it magic,
Tell that to the Hosseins in Bangladesh,
now living underneath two cardboard boxes,
held together by aluminum foil,
because the floods chanced upon their village.
Tell that to Rhonda in New Orleans,
whose sons went to protect their store,
but never came home,
swept into nothingness by the waves of a hurricane.
Tell that to Felicia and Javier in Bolivia,
who walk to school every morning,
passing an American ‘natural spring water’ bottling factory,
but are scolded for dirty uniforms,
because there was no water for laundry,
So when I hear Megh Malhar,
I yearn for a time when,
The audacity of humanity,
To bend nature to its will,
Was a wondrous dream,
and not a nightmare.
Pooja Joshi is an Indian-American poet currently working as a management consultant in Atlanta, GA. She graduated in 2019 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.